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Out of Africa in Flamingo Land!

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Years 4 and 5 enjoyed a thoroughly immersive educational trip to Flamingo land linking in with their science and discovery learning in the classroom.

Following up on this half-term’s science topic on living things, their habitats and adaptations to their environments, Year 4’s day started with a ‘spot-the-animal’ camouflage game. This encouraged the children to consider how animals are suited to their environments and why being able to remain hidden in the wild is an advantage. The workshop which followed explored the wide variety of habitats that can be found in our world with the children enthusiastically participating in the discussion on how various creatures have adapted to their surroundings.  During the workshop, the children had the opportunity to handle a cornsnake, a hedghog-like tenrec and a giant hissing cockroach - some were more excited than others about the latter!

After lunch the children toured the zoo with a keeper and everyone had.the opportunity to ask as many questions as they wanted. The highlights of the tour included spying a baby wallaby in its mother’s pouch, identifying George (the tallest giraffe in the UK) and watching the tiger feeding.

The day ended with a visit to the sea lion show.

Miss Diggory and Mrs Cross said: ‘This was a fantastic way to start this half-term’s work on”‘Living Things and their Habitats”. We are extremely proud of the children’s clear interest and engagement on the visit.’

Year 5’s visit directly linked in with this term’s discovery learning topic “Africa – Land of Diversity”. The children set out to Flamingo Land with class teachers Mrs Hazorika-Stéphany & Mrs Bazire-Smith, armed with the task of researching African land animals for the purpose of creating a class non-fiction book all about African animals.

Their visit began with an excellent zoo tour, jam-packed full of information from their extremely knowledgeable guide, James. It was a bit chilly and the tortoises didn’t venture out of their heated enclosure but all twelve of their focus African animals made an appearance, including black and white rhinos, lemurs, zebras, hippos, giraffes and lions. The children worked in pairs to record notes on their specific animals for their writing back at base.

After warming up over lunch in the Education Centre, the children enjoyed an “African Rangers” workshop in which they learned how to spot the evidence for identifying particular African animals in their environment. There was an awful lot of animal poo to recognise and much of it was real! After that, the children had the opportunity to handle a real snake and a porcupine and had a close encounter with a taxidermy lion who used to live in the Lion enclosure at Flamingo Land before it died of old age several years ago.

The children finished their day with a good run round and play at Children’s Planet.

Year 5 now plan to go on to become budding ‘natural history presenters’ by using their non-fiction writing to create a television-style documentary about the African Animals they met at Flamingo Land . . . watch this space!

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